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Uber could help solve lack of public transit in Greenwood

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With a population of more than 70,000, Greenwood County is the largest county in South Carolina without a public transit system.

“If you look at public transportation in most of the cities, it is heavily subsidized by the metropolitan areas,” Greenwood Mayor Welborn Adams said. “We’ve looked at it, but it isn’t something we are planning to do anytime soon.”

In August, ride-hailing giant Uber expanded its service into Greenwood and Newberry counties. Adams said Uber can help fill in the gaps left by a lack of public transportation such as getting people to work who otherwise might have no other transportation option.

“We are a pretty rural area. A lot of the people who live in our city work in facilities that are 10 or 15 miles away, and carpooling was not a realistic option,” Adams said. “Uber helps with that and cost-wise, it is manageable.”

An Uber ride from Lander University to downtown Greenwood would cost between $5 and $7, according to Uber’s website. The same trip made with a local taxi cab company would cost around $8.

Michael McCarthy, who started the Bring Uber to Greenwood campaign, said the purpose for trying to lure a program like Uber or its chief competitor Lyft to Greenwood was spurred by that lack of public transportation in the county.

He said in addition to helping employees get to and from work and eliminating a transportation barrier for people looking for jobs, Uber in Greenwood can better connect residents with social events and gatherings.

“We have great things that are going on, and I want people to be able to go to things like the Festival of Flowers and not worry about who’s driving home,” McCarthy said.

Uber brings what Adams called a “cutting-edge” business to Greenwood, something he added the growing millennial population is looking for.

It also adds a new business to Greenwood, something Adams said the growing millennial population is looking for.
“I think it better connects Greenwood and it sends a message to that 25- to 35-year-old crowd,” Adams said. “It’s like when Starbucks came here … it is something that the millennial crowd wants, and it fits right into their lifestyle.”

Ride-hailing companies continue their push into South Carolina.

Uber started in Charleston in 2014. Uber’s main competitor Lyft started in Charleston in June 2016. The S.C. Legislature passed a law in 2015 allowing for “transportation networking companies” to operate in the state and be regulated. 
The Charleston County Aviation Authority approved such companies to operate at Charleston International Airport in February 2016 at the same time Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport officials reached an agreement with Uber to operate at the airport.

Adams said there are at least four Uber drivers operating in Greenwood.

Uber also operates in Columbia and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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September 15, 2017

Just remember folks to give these drivers 5-star ratings often or you will lose them fairly quickly. Uber sends an email to drivers whose over all rating has dropped to just 4.60/59. Also, the longer the trip with no return rider, drivers make less. I will avail myself for further questions about rideshare as I logged over 7200 trips in under 15 months.

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